Mayor’s Youth Empowerment Fund (MYEP) exists to provide advocacy and support to at-risk youth, children, and adults with disabilities who face barriers to independence and resources to their families.
Currently, MYEP serves more than 150 families each year. In addition to Medicaid services, MYEP provides services to area at-risk youth through our Youth Leadership Program, which supports area at-risk youth to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively competent and contributing members of the community.
The MYEP Youth Leadership Program provides an after-school program for youth in elementary schools, junior, and senior high schools twice a week. The curriculum includes money management; preventing, identifying, and reporting domestic, physical and sexual abuse; preventing bullies; on-line safety tips, community services, the importance of post secondary education, and many more. The mission of the Youth Leadership Program is “Creating opportunities for today’s youth and securing the future of our community.”
Launched in 1968, MYEP began as a federal initiative encouraging cities to provide summer employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth and young adults between the ages of 14-24. MYEP is active in offering direct, supportive programs to individuals with disabilities and area at-risk youth. From 1968 through 1996, MYEP was considered a quasi-function of the City of Iowa City. In 1996, MYEP filed for and became a 501(c) (3) private, nonprofit corporation.
MYEP is built around the concept of summer conservation projects, which emphasized working in small groups to complete projects that benefit the entire community. These projects have been completed in collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers, Project GREEN, Iowa City, Coralville, University of Iowa, and MYEP Bicycle Repair Shop.
MYEP has provided services that were funded by various local, state, and federal grants. As grants dwindled, MYEP expanded to sales of services to agencies including Department of Human Services (DHS), Mental Health and Disability Services (MH/DS) and the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD).
In 2002, MYEP became an approved service provider with the State of Iowa Medicaid Waiver Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) offering Individual, Group, and Camp Respite Care, Supported Community Living both Hourly and Residential, Job Coaching and Job Placement, Prevocational Services, Adult Day-Habilitation Services, Adult Day Care, and Consumer Direct Attendant Care (CDAC). MYEP continues to expand its services through the following Waivers: Intellectual Disability Waiver (formally known as Mental Retardation Waiver), Ill and Handicapped Waiver, Brain Injury Waiver, Physical Disability Waiver, Children Mental Health Waiver, and Residential Based Supported Community Living Waiver.
The program offers a speakers bureau inviting speakers from various professions to talk to youth. Community service, which includes youth participation in a community service project, include sanding and painting the picnic benches at local parks, collecting or packaging food for the Crisis Center, cleaning parks and trails and more. Quarterly field trips are both educational and recreational and have included the Science Museum, Adventureland, the Aquarium, Cedar Rapids Kernel’s baseball games.
The program provides summer camps where youth can go to participate in organized activities during the summer months. The Youth Leadership Program also sponsors youth attendance at various area sports camps and the summer employment program that provides paid summer employment for youth between the ages of 14-18 years with local businesses including the MYEP camps for individuals with disabilities, cleaning crews for several local organizations, clerical work, day cares, summer helpers with other businesses in the area, and the stipend program for youth between the ages 12-14 who cannot work but can volunteer.